Gulf Coast Housing Partnership Breaks Ground on Mississippi Project

Courtesy Of The Mississippi Department Of Archives And History
A former Holiday Inn hotel will become the Pearl, a $28 million affordable housing and healthcare community, on Highway 80 in Jackson, Miss. (1966 postcard image courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History)

JACKSON, Miss. — New Orleans-based real estate developer Gulf Coast Housing Partnership joined partners at a Nov. 4 groundbreaking ceremony for the Pearl, a $28 million affordable housing and healthcare community located on the site of a former Holiday Inn and Jackson Southwest Hotel on Highway 80 in Jackson. 

The project follows the model of an $80 million new-construction affordable housing and healthcare development currently under construction on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard in Central City.  Being built by Impetus Construction on the site of a former Brown’s Dairy processing plant parking lot, the New Orleans project is dubbed “H3C,” which the developers say is a reference to their belief in “culture, commerce and community.”

The original Holiday Inn structure located on the 14-acre site in Jackson was constructed in the early 1960s and will now be substantially renovated into 72,000 square feet of affordable housing with an onsite healthcare clinic.

“We are deeply appreciative to Gulf Coast Housing Partnership and the Pearl Street Community Development Corporation for their commitment to this important project,” said Lumumba in a press release. “This satisfies two vital needs for the City of Jackson at the same time. First, it will provide needed medical care for our residents. Second, it will redevelop and renovate a highly visible section of our City that has suffered from years of neglect and blight. These are the kind of projects and partnerships we seek to elevate in our pursuit of an economy based on the dignity of all residents.” 

Gulf Coast says the Pearl will have 76 one- and two-bedroom apartments reserved for seniors aged 55 or older. The community is designed with elements that facilitate aging in place, including a pool, fitness center, and community room. The Pearl will be certified by Fitwel, a building rating system created by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention to guide building design. At the Pearl, this includes the prominent placement of walkways and stair wells to encourage movement and improve the health of building occupants.

Jackson Hinds Comprehensive Health Center will operate the onsite Federally Qualified Health Center and employ community healthcare workers that will serve both residents of the Pearl and the surrounding community.

“For over 50 years, Jackson Hinds Comprehensive Health has been a pillar in the community providing quality comprehensive healthcare services,” said Dr. Jasmin O. Chapman, DDS and Jackson Hinds Comprehensive Health CEO. “This project will have a profound and direct impact in addressing and reducing the health disparities that so many of our patients face such as transportation, access to care, food insecurities, and access to mental and behavioral services.  We are elated to be a part of this wonderful collaboration and to witness this project coming to fruition.”

H3C and the Pearl are examples of Gulf Coast’s “health + housing” concept, which “recognizes the role quality affordable housing and access to health care has on an individual’s health outcomes.” The healthcare delivery model is inspired by the research of Mississippi physician Aaron Shirley.

Healthcare payors, including Medicaid managed care organizations, are helping to fund both project. In Jackson, UnitedHealthcare is supporting the Pearl with an investment of $3 million as part of its commitment to affordable housing and health care in Mississippi.

“It is our goal to ensure our members have the housing, healthcare, and employment necessary to live healthier lives and thrive in their communities,” said J. Michael Parnell, chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Mississippi. “This development is a proven way to provide access to many things that are essential to them, and it is driven by formative research, consumer behaviors, and patient needs.”

GCHP’s health + housing concept received national recognition in 2020, when GCHP was selected as one of six winners out of 900 applicants in the national Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge sponsored by Wells Fargo and Enterprise Community Partners.

“GCHP’s mission to create affordable housing and stronger communities throughout the Gulf Coast is only possible through our partnerships,” said Kathy Laborde, GCHP president and CEO. “Together we will be able to transform this property and will improve the health outcomes for the residents of the Pearl and the surrounding community. “  

Additional funding support for the Pearl is being provided by the City of Jackson, Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, Federal Home Bank of Dallas, Hinds County Board of Supervisors, Mississippi Home Corporation, Mississippi Regional Housing Authority VI., Regions Bank and Trustmark Bank.

GCHP hired Snyder Environmental & Construction, Fountain Construction and McCarty Architects for the Pearl, which is expected to be complete in late 2023.

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